Skip to comments.Activists call recycling trash waste of time [Environmentalists call recycling "a complete failure"]
Posted on 03/04/2003 7:16:56 AM PST by ZGuy
A group of Swedish environmentalists -- convinced that recycling is a colossal waste of time and money -- is urging people to toss their blue boxes in the garbage.
To the chagrin of fellow environmentalists in Canada and across the globe, the group said burning cardboard, plastics and other household trash is actually much better for the planet than any recycling program has turned out to be.
In fact, the group contends the so-called benefits of recycling are all but nullified by the environmental damage associated with hauling the waste to and from the recycling facilities.
Coupled with the overwhelming cost of collecting, sorting and reprocessing the material, the group is convinced that decades-old recycling initiatives are nothing short of a complete failure.
"Protection of the environment can mean economic sacrifices, but to maintain the credibility of environmental politics, the environmental gains must be worth the sacrifice," the consortium wrote in a recent newspaper article.
At the controls of this latest anti-recycling crusade are five residents of Sweden, a country well-known for its trailblazing initiatives aimed at protecting the environment. Made up of environmentalists and waste-collection companies, the team is lead by Valfrid Paulsson, a former director of Sweden's environmental protection agency, and Soren Norrby, the former campaign manager for Keep Sweden Tidy.
Based in a country already full of incinerators, the campaigners say technology has improved so much in recent years that the process is completely clean and safe. It also allows communities to generate significant amounts of electricity, reducing their dependency on oil.
Environmentalists in Canada, however, dismissed any suggestions that recycling is a foundering experiment that should be immediately scrapped.
"I think they're flying a kite," said Guy Dauncey, a Victoria-based author and environmental consultant. "It's nonsense."
For decades, Canada has built very few new garbage incinerators, largely over concerns that they emit harmful substances. Changing that philosophy is definitely not the way to solve any glitches associated with recycling, said Veronica Sherwood, who co-ordinates the Nova Scotia Environment Network, an umbrella organization for the environmental groups in the province.
"Recycling may not be the best choice," she said yesterday. "It burns considerable precious energy and does in fact add to fossil fuel emissions. However, incineration is not an ecologically sound alternative."
Burning recyclables, said Mr. Dauncey, would still entail the same amount of effort as traditional recycling. Simply ensuring that certain toxins do not filter into the air would involve the same level of methodical sorting that occurs now.
And, he said, transportation costs -- both financial and environmental -- would not decrease if incineration replaced recycling.
"You can't put an incinerator in the middle of downtown Toronto," he said.
"So you've still got to haul the stuff to an incinerator."
David Wimberly, a well-known Canadian environmentalist, said the campaigners are doing nothing more than trying to sell a few incinerators.
Either way, other observers said it is time that Canadians -- who produce approximately 21 million tonnes of garbage every year -- more rigorously debate the merits of recycling.
"It's always worth taking a look at the numbers and looking at the reliability and asking: Have we got the mix right now or should we be trying something else," said Donald Dewees, a University of Toronto professor who specializes in environmental economics.
BTW, since I have a farm....I shred my junk-mail and paper waste into animal bedding which is later composted after enough manure is added. I cut my own meats. I collect my own eggs. We have an outdoor toilet(seasonally permitted). I found the best shower we have is the one we use on livestock(this was after an unfortunate skunking episode). We drain grey water into the garden. We put up our own canned goods in glass jars. Even construction debris like old plaster and drywall gets crushed and spread on the fields. Chickens and goats will provide you eggs and milk merely by eating what you throw away.
Recycling is for those chained to an urban environment and feel bad about it.
I commend you for doing your part to recycle. You're fortunate to have land and animals to use up recyclable material. Those who don't live in the country can do their part as well. The success varies with the area. Our area has great success in recycling.
That darn recycled content toilet paper ain't selling so well either. That's why Charmin, Kimberly Clarke and such import all that eucalyptus pulp for their tissue mills here in Wisconsin. They cut down rainforests and have the pulp sent here on ships.
Well hell, that's like other things in Cal.
But everyone does it anyway.......LOL!